Monthly Archives: November 2013

Something else to be thankful for

Pope Francis – yesterday:

The pope also denounced “trickle-down” theories of economics promoted by many conservatives and politicians who espouse an unregulated free market.

“In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he said. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

Perhaps the professional Christians in our Congress – and especially in State legislatures – should give a listen. Possible? I’m not placing bets on that, but if Francis keeps it up I could become – whilst still unbelieving – a practicing Catholic again.

The oligarchy’s latest ‘War on the Family’

https://i1.wp.com/www.mypraize.com/images/rsgallery/original/greedy_santa.jpgHere’s something I could be thankful for: the  toxic new retail trend that has stores opening on Thanksgiving Day (some as early as 6am) to attract more shoppers turns out to be . . . a bust!

Wouldn’t it be swell?

The Thanksgiving classic

There are no others.

I remember everything. Every piercing painful moment.

This should qualify as a perfect trifecta for Moe. It all comes together right here in a single number – an oldie, politics, and an anniversary. Plus Frank Sinatra. So why am I so sad?

Made it

msileThere.

And now I shall stop with the self-obsessing.

It’s nap time.

36 to go

I think today’s the day. But AFrankAngle (UPDATE: whoops, it was desertscope  who did that! damn him!) just reminded me of the next milestone. So basically I have to do this all over again?

I’m tired already.

Whatever Works is only 261 hits away from a quarter million

I’ve known for a while this particular milestone was in my near future but I was very surprised this morning when I took a look (after two weeks of teh unbloggy) and saw that it is imminent. Ha! How ’bout that!

 

If you’re planning a journey into the health insurance exchanges . . .

. . . you might benefit from visiting  Health Sherpa, given the Looking-Glass world of health insurance at present. Since I don’t need insurance, I didn’t go deeply in, but it looks like a very very useful tool.

They describe themselves thusly:

The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data.

The Health Sherpa is not affiliated with any lobby, trade group or government agency and has no political agenda.

 

Knock knock. Who’s there? Friday! That’s who!

From the depths of teh unbloggy, I have managed to push this to the surface for Friday and I’ve done it without a reminder from Ed, impressing even myself.

Enthralling

greyUse a piece of paper to split these faces vertically, so you view them one side at a time.

For some of us it seems, at least physically, genes really are destiny. More here.

New quote

From Albert Einstein – hat tip to blogfriend jonolan:

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.

Image

Wear one today

It’s the eleventh day of the eleventh month . . .

75 years ago tonight

Kristallnacht – when the rancid talk of ‘the other’ heats up, as it does all too often these days, we should all remember November 9, 1938.

http://lordalton.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/fasanenstrasse-synagogue-in-berlin-after-kristallnacht.jpghttps://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2b/Germans_walk_by_a_Jewish_business_destroyed_on_Kristallnacht.jpg

 

Ed tells me (yet again) that yesterday was Friday

So . . . these guys were having a ball just singing and ‘groovin’ (as it was known then). Just having a lot of fun. And so did we. (They’re all so tall! Is that odd?)

We see them come and we see them go

I just visited blogfriend desertscope (who’s been mostly absent for a few months because the inanities and insanities of our public discourse, as he put it, “leave me empty”. I know what he means.) where, from a recent post of his I learned that a one-time favorite of mine, Tbogg, has stopped publishing. He stepped away from his long time blog home at Firedoglake and is off to smell the roses and see what’s next.  For nearly ten years, I read him most days and he always made me laugh.

Here’s his final post, written with his exquisite economy of language:

. . . and that’s a wrap.

That was it. (Well, there was a video, but still . . . )

A few days earlier he said proper goodbyes, bestowing these words of wisdom to guide his soon-to-be bereft readers through the days to come:

  • If Ross Douthat offers some vague promise of respect if you’ll just hand over the keys to your vagina… don’t do it. It’s a trap and he’ll only end up calling you a whore and fat in his next book: Fat Whores I Wouldn’t Fuck With Your Dick No Matter How Much They Look Like A Celebrity: A Journey Of Faith
  • McMegan will write something about public policy that will be completely wrong because she will be “unconvinced” due to the fact that the numbers fail to translate into cups, tablespoons, pinches, pounds, and liters … and also because she is paid to be wrong. But even if she weren’t paid to be wrong she’d still get it wrong.
  • Someone will continue to fund Breitbart.com because it is better than having their staff wandering the streets screaming “STOP RAPING PEOPLE!” at symbols of government over-reach like, for example, mailboxes.
  • Andrew Breitbart will remain dead.
  • Always apply the 24-Hour Rule to every overly-hyped story whether it is revelations about the NSA or the IRS, or news about a spontaneously combusting baby …  although that one seems for real
  • Lastly, we call them ‘libertarians” because ‘sociopath’ is such an ugly word.

A funny man. I wish him well. (And there will always be 13 years of archives of the infamous and always delightful series, “Friday Night Basset Blogging”.)

The day democracy died in Iran they weren’t wearing burkas

Iranian men and women (note the Western clothing) demonstrating in the streets of Tehran in the early 1950’s, calling for nationalization of the oil industry. Mohammed Moussadek, their democratically elected President made it happen and that made us angry.

Almost immediately, the CIA and British Intelligence orchestrated a coup, arrested the President and installed Shah Reva Pahlavi, who then – over a quarter century – destroyed democratic institutions, jailed dissidents and ruled as a Dictator. And oh yeah, the British got their oil back.

Having lost any political voice, Iranians turned to their clerics and it was in the mosque that anti-Shah sentiments were nurtured. Imams preached Islamism and radicalism. The early goal of restoring their treasured democracy stolen by the West was replaced by growing anti-Western attitudes and a commitment to overthrow the Shah.

We all know what happened 25 years later. And we’re all too familiar with the Iran of the 25 years since then. Blowback, the very definition of.

https://i1.wp.com/img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780805094978_p0_v2_s260x420.JPGFor all of that, we can thank two men: the then Director of the CIA Allan Dulles and his brother US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the same boys who shortly thereafter brought us Guatemala and Vietnam.

I just added to my reading list The Brothers,the story of how their belief system was formed, and how it – for a decade or more – became the very basis of American foreign policy.

Texas doesn’t care who you are. Dammit, the law is the law!

Texas’ new voter ID laws are working just fine because they are very good laws and proof is here. They’ve snagged yet another suspicious ‘voter’:

https://maureenholland.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/eaab5-georgehwbushinauguration.jpg

Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.

For Speaker Wright, matters were cleared up in a few days. I wonder how it would go without his level of civic savvy. (There he is at some big DC event or other, standing behind the guy with his hand up in the air.)

Means nothing, move along

Our last – and best ever – Mayor is busy on Facebook today and found this. Thanks, Ed!

And that has nothing at all to do with why so many working people in the US get food and health care assistance. Nothing at all.

Good Riddance to Daylight Savings Time

Have I mentioned lately that I hate/resent/dread Daylight Savings Time? Always have. Always will. And here in The Sunshine State it’s an especial torture when,  every summer, we take an hour away from the coolest part of the day and tack it on to the hottest part of the day.

indian_daylight savings timeSo thank you National Geographic for putting it out there.  First, the premise put forward in 1917 that DST would energy has little relevance 100 years later.

In their 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study, the team found that lighting demand dropped, but the warmer hour of extra daylight tacked onto each evening led to more air-conditioning use, which canceled out the gains from reduced lighting and then some: Hoosiers paid higher electric bills than before DST, the study showed . . . During the 2000 Sydney Olympics, parts of Australia extended daylight saving time while others did not . . . the practice did indeed drop lighting and electricity use in the evenings—but that higher energy demands during darker mornings completely canceled out the evening gains. . .

“Everywhere there is air conditioning, our evidence suggests that daylight saving is a loser,” Wolff said.

And, oh yeah, gas.

“When you give Americans more light at the end of the day, they really do want to get out of the house. And they go to ballparks, or to the mall and other places, but they don’t walk there. Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.”

Conventional wisdom is that DST was begun to help farmers. Not so. Farmers found it disruptive to livestock and crops.  Who else doesn’t like it?

  • Orthodox religions with traditional prayer schedules have long fought against DST
  • The TV industry hates it and fights it, and
  • Arizona thinks it’s stupid and does not participate.

 

If you’ve nothing else to do at the moment, how about some geography?

For those who think about issues like our odd quirk of a weirdly unrepresentative Senate – or those who enjoy thinking about historical what-if’s – this is a short, fun (albeit whimsical) read. The author asks should we redraw the State lines and he says it’s not a new question.

How about States based on geography? Or population? Or cultural similarities? Or watersheds? Perhaps invite Canada to the party?

Here’s a possible 50-state map based on population. (Would someone please explain to Sarah Palin where most Americans live? Thank you.)

Here’s one that contemplates State borders based on shared history and culture.

The author of this ‘cultural’ map notes that:

Ohio is the quintessential swing state because, Woodard says, it’s partitioned. The state’s northeast was once part of Connecticut, so it’s populated by Yankee settlers who did things like found Oberlin College. Moving south, there’s a strip of peaceable Midwesterners living in what Woodward calls The Midlands, and then farther south you get to Appalachia, the political opposite of Yankeedom. “Those two things do not work together at all, and yet they both ended up in the same state,” he said

Oh it’s Friday alright, and still drowning with teh busy

Four years of Friday Night Oldies, and I missed this!